People have been collecting and processing information since ancient days. The process has not changed much over the last several thousand years, until the advent of personal computers.
With the proliferation of mobile devices, along with the rise of artificial intelligence and Internet of Things, we are producing and consuming data in tremendous amounts every day, often without being aware that we are doing so. Almost everybody is involved in the life cycle of big data.
The make-up of big data has also changed considerably from a couple years ago. And the regulation of data security has also been evolving. Both have contributed to the rising costs of handling and sharing data.
Such costs become a major barrier for corporates and government agencies to pursue digitalization.
Based on my experience at Alibaba, the amount and categories of data could increase so much that the whole exercise becomes a huge burden. Computing, storage, data security and quality assurance all add to the huge costs.
To turn data into assets in a cost-efficient way, proper data governance is crucial.
The purpose of data governance is to improve efficiency, synergy and innovation through co-creation and repeated use of data.
A data governance committee can be formed to lay down the rules for managing and using data, as well as determining the principles and mechanism for sharing and open access.
The committee should also set up policies for security and privacy protection. Nurturing of talent and the promotion of digital culture are also important functions of such a committee.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Sept 11
Translation by Julie Zhu
[Chinese version 中文版]
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